Sonovia’s ultrasonic tech reinvents fabric reinforcement

The new approach makes fabrics water resistant, antibacterial and even flame resistant with less pollution than current methods.

The Sonofix machine. (photo credit: PR)
The Sonofix machine.
(photo credit: PR)

Textile work, much like farming or complaining about the weather, remains one of humanity’s oldest activities. And just as humankind has developed tractors and radar to make farming and weather-forecasting easier, so too it has developed technologies to improve weaving.

The latest development, from Israeli start-up Sonovia, adds to a long heritage of advancements in the field by reinforcing fabrics through the power of sound.

Utilizing its primary product, Sonofix, Sonovia uses ultrasonic waves to integrate chemical compounds into textiles, forcing the compounds into the fabric itself. These compounds can thereby create antibacterial, antiviral, water-resistant and flame-retardant coatings.

This methodology is a radical departure from older textile reinforcement procedures.

“In our machine, sound waves shoot chemicals straight onto the surface of the fabric,” explained Sonovia’s CTO Liat Goldhammer. “Imagine millions of ‘bullets’ being shot to the textile surface at split-second intervals and covering the surface with new properties like anti-microbial, anti-UV [coatings] and more.”

 Liat Goldhammer, CTO, Sonovia (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI) Liat Goldhammer, CTO, Sonovia (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

This methodology is a radical departure from older textile reinforcement procedures.

Sonovia CEO Igal Zaitun said, “The way it’s done today, and has been done for the last 100 years, is with a lot of water, a lot of chemicals and a lot of what we call ‘binders,’ which seal the fabrics over time and make them wash resistant.” He explained that the dipping and soaking procedures from these old methods left behind massive amounts of chemical wastewater and pollutants.

“Imagine millions of ‘bullets’ being shot to the textile surface at split-second intervals and covering the surface with new properties like anti-microbial, anti-UV and more.”

Sonovia’s CTO Liat Goldhammer

Sonovia’s innovation answers that problem directly, and offers a host of advantages over that dated method.

“One, it reduces the amount of chemicals, binders, water and energy needed,” explained Zaitun.

 “Second, we enable manufacturers to achieve higher performance because we put the materials inside the fabric using ultrasonic waves. This means that we anchor it very, very deeply into the fibers and it doesn’t come out, so it’s really resistant to time and abrasion.

“The third advantage is that the technology is completely [material] agnostic. Because it’s not a chemical bond. It’s a physical bond. You don’t have to change your chemistry when you change the fabric you’re working with,” he noted. “It works on cotton, polyester, nylon and mixes of fibers. It works on any fabric.”

The first Sonofix machine has been installed at the Tel Aviv-based textile company Delta Galil’s innovation center, where the machine will be used for internal tests. That will be followed by the machine’s integration into fabric tests for the brands with which Delta Galil works.

Promotion of environmentally-friendly products

The collaboration is in line with Delta Galil’s policy of promoting environmentally friendly products. It also positions the company as a global pioneer in the adoption of such technologies.

During the initial stages of the agreement, pilot tests were carried out that integrated Sonovia’s technology in Delta fabrics with different compositions for leading sports and underwear brands. External lab tests showed very high antibacterial activity according to two international standards, even after 50 washing cycles.

The company responsible for the Delta Galil unit’s construction and installation, Brückner, recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Sonovia regarding the commercial sale of Sonofix units. According to the agreement, Sonofix machines will be manufactured by the German company according to Sonovia’s specifications. Brückner will also provide Sonovia with R&D, engineering and global technical support services for customers.

“We are proud to cooperate with Sonovia, which shares with us a common vision of developing groundbreaking solutions in the field of textile production,” said company CEO Regina Brückner. “This strategic cooperation stems from the need to find a solution to the severe pollution problem of the textile industry.”